Ralph Detrick
Ralph Detrick was raised on a dairy farm in Stanley Wisconsin (Lake Wobegon twin) in the 50’s by a preacher/farmer dad and Canadian born mom. He served as a pastor for 37 years in five Church of the Brethren congregations. Retired in 2006 from Elizabethtown PA COB.
 
A Rotarian since 2001 with Rotary Club of Elizabethtown, he served as club president and an Assistant Governor for three years. Asked to talk about Paul Harris and the founding of Rotary for a Fireside Chat for new members, Ralph chose to portray Paul Harris.
 
That began a decades long opportunity to portray Paul and the founding of Rotary for club programs and several district events. He also provides programs for Rotary Clubs and public schools on “The Day I Met Dr. Martin Luther King.”  His wife, Joyce Stoltzfus, serves a hospice chaplain.  They live at Masonic Village in Elizabethtown.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Paul Harris – (Brought to life by Ralph Detrick – the Rotary Club of Elizabethtown)
 
Paul Harris grew up in small-town Vermont and learned the values of honesty, integrity, friendship and tolerance. Following graduation from law school in 1891, he traveled for five years and had many experiences in the United States and overseas, including acting in Denver, picking oranges in the Delta, working for a newspaper in San Francisco and as a cattleman on ships to England.
 
As a lawyer in Chicago, he specialized in serving clients suffering from bankruptcy and embezzlement. Chicago was like a lawless frontier town. He experienced political and business corruption, unfriendliness and intolerance.
 
Paul Harris yearned for friends who shared his values.  As a result, he founded Rotary in 1905. Rotary formed around friendship, ethics in business and fun. Rotary soon became a service organization. Drawing on his friendships from five years of travels, new clubs began appearing from San Francisco to New York City. In 1910 the first Rotary convention was held in Chicago with sixteen clubs.
Paul Harris continued to foster Rotary and the Rotary values of friendship, service and peace around the world until his death in 1947.